Anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) therapy is an effective but expensive option for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Its use is generally reserved for patients with severe refractory disease, often involving long-term administration. Anti-TNF therapy has the potential to be associated with various adverse effects, such as infection, malignancy and immunogenicity. Clinicians and patients should be familiar with these possibilities and adopt appropriate precautions prior to and during treatment to minimize risk. Guidelines have been developed for Australian prescribers intending to use anti-TNF therapy in IBD by a Working Party commissioned by IBD-Australia, a Special Interest Group affiliated with the Gastroenterology Society of Australia.